Choosing the right crowd to hang out with is as crucial in marketing as it was in high school. Co-marketing is making more and more sense to a lot of companies with pinched budgets and a desire to reach a wider audience.
What’s behind all this kumbaya? It could be the dragging economy that is making combined budgets more appealing to marketers. Or it could be that multiple p.r. departments spread the word to more people and create more media impressions. And let’s not forget the increased audience.
Judah Zeigler senior vp-marketing at Sharp has been using co-marketing successfully to grow his company’s sponsorship portfolio from nothing three years ago to a Major League Baseball sponsorship that this season included a spot on MLB co-sponsor Pepsi’s prize platform. Zeigler cites the failing economy as one reason why companies may want to consider co-marketing.
“Most companies agree we’re in a recession if not in it we’re close so every company is going to have to do more with less or more with the same. One way is to partner up with complementary brands to achieve or align with marketing goals ” says Zeigler. EM delved into the co-marketing trend to find out how and why companies are holding hands in event marketing harmony.
DWS Scudder The Investment Climate is Changing Road show
The why: Shared target audience builds additional equity. One big reason for two brands to partner when planning an event is that they share a specific target audience such as those who consider themselves environmentally conscious. And nobody has gone after this target demographic bigger or better than DWS Scudder the U.S. unit of Deutsche Bank.
To kick off its three-month nationwide road show called The Investment Climate is Changing DWS Scudder pulled off two climate-related stunts that highlighted the group’s Climate Change Fund which invests in companies developing product service solutions in response to climate change.
The Via at Two Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles was transformed from sunny to snowy with the creation of a 90-foot ski slope covered in 25 tons of snow produced by a shaved ice machine (offset by carbon credits). The point was to demonstrate how colder weather in L.A. would require serious adaptation.
Scudder created a ski village dotted with five themed chalets. Here’s where the sharing started. Additional sponsors including Icelandic Glacial water upscale ski brand Rossignol Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Company and the Wall Street Journal each took over one chalet and used it to interact with visitors to the ski village. “It’s about raising brand awareness in audiences that you’re not currently reaching ” says Philip Parrotta head of marketing strategy and brand management at DWS Scudder. “If you choose the right brand then you also get a halo effect from what their brand stands for. It’s an added benefit because there are more bodies and more brain power to get the word out about a specific event.”
“Icelandic Glacial (a carbon-neutral certified company) and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (which uses all-natural ingredients) were a perfect connect with the eco-conscious consumer Scudder hoped to attract with its Climate Change Fund. The WSJ appealed to the financial sector and Rossignol kept it fun with snowboarders showing off their stuff on site.
Scudder created a similar event in New York City turning South Street Seaport into a rain forest to evoke similar reflections about climate change. Sponsors—this time organic juice and smoothie maker Sambazon the Wall Street Journal Icelandic Glacial water and the Brazilian Tourism Board—were each set up in a hut.
Sambazon was a no-brainer at the New York jungle event. It has co-marketed at a long list of events focusing on health and the environment. “Co-marketing only works if it’s a natural fit for the companies ” says Scott Nemeth events and promotions director Sambazon. “It helps with brand identity and increases a user base that you wouldn’t otherwise hit” (Agency: Radar Entertainment New York City).
The Charmin Restroom in Times Square
The why: Similar—but not competitive—product categories complement each other. Peanut butter is to jelly as Charmin is to Kohler toilets. OK so this may not have made it into your SATs but it sure was a win for co-marketing during the holiday season. Kohler bet on Charmin’s second-year success the Charmin Restrooms in Times Square. For a few weeks in December Charmin created pristine public bathrooms fully stocked with its toilet paper and other Procter & Gamble products and equipped with—you guessed it—Kohler toilets. The partnership exposed Kohler to New Yorkers and tourists visiting for the holidays. Media-heavy activities like the honorary first flush by actress and comedienne Molly Shannon put Kohler front and center and made sure the brand benefited from p.r. impressions as much as Charmin did. Kohler used the opportunity to promote its brand with a focus on water conservation highlighting the Barrington toilet one of 12 Kohler toilets listed on the EPA’s WaterSense roster of water efficient products. That good will consequently benefited Charmin by allowing the activation to save gallons of water (Agency: Gigunda Group Manchester NH).
Best Life Tour
The why: Smaller brands benefit when associated with industry leaders. For smaller brands co-marketing can be especially beneficial. During Bob Greene’s (Oprah’s personal trainer) Best Life Tour big and small products worked together to educate the public about eating healthier. On the roster were the big guns like Nestlé Unilever and Barilla. But there were smaller brands too—like Flatout wraps. The tour which kicked off in January and hit 18 markets was a smart way for a brand like Flatout to do something big. Green and tour staff did demos on site which included a grilled chicken wrap using Flatout.
“Every time that you work with other brands there are certain efficiencies. If you’re able to have a relationship with iconic brands like Unilever and General Mills it puts you in good company ” says Bob Pallotta head of marketing at Flatout.